Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Pour Some Sugar on My Trombone


hysteria
Originally uploaded by chinese_fashion.


For some reason, music gets good in springtime. Songs have more hope. They inspire huge flights of fancy and big dumb projects that either flop miserably or change your whole life.

We all have springtime songs from the past that just do it for us.And that'e the next best thing about spring, apart from the weather: it gives meaning to a whole new batch of music.

By the spring of 1988, my relationship with the trombone was officially on the rocks. It was the silliest instrument the sixth-grade band had to pick from, which made it a major plus when I chose it that fall, and I figured that since I didn’t have to learn any complex fingering, it would be that much easier to learn. Boy, was I ever wrong. It turned out that you had to actually be good at the trombone to do all of the fun stuff with it, and getting good meant practicing, which I was definitely not into.

I was too busy caring about breakdancing and drawing my own Super Carrot comics to pick up the trombone like my parents forced me to, five days a week for half an hour a day. Christmas vacation had been a nightmare of parentally mandated two-hour practice sessions to make up for all my lost time. One can neglect ones’ homework pretty quietly, but the sound of a kid not practicing his trombone is aggressively inaudible.

By the time the spring concert started rolling around, things were getting pretty heavy between me, my dad and the trombone. My dad was of the opinion that once you commit to something, you see it through... a good lesson for a growing boy. However, he was also determined not to be the father of the kid who screwed up the band’s spring concert. There was no explaining to him that no matter how little I practiced, there were plenty of kids in the band than I did.

The thing about being in the sixth grade is that these tiny things with tremendous implications that change your whole life happen every day, and you barely notice them. I felt the full weight of this transformation the moment it happened, and I’ve been fully aware of it ever since.

I was polishing off the back end of an old chocolate rabbit during a little break before settling into the onerous business of learning some Bach, when I decided to flip on the radio. Terence Trent D’Arby was on his way out, and the DJ’s faux-breathless voice kicked in. I was so young, I couldn’t tell his voice was a beard for his boredom... I got a little excited every time the DJ said anything. But that night, what he said helped change my whole thing…

“Now, debuting at number one in tonight’s Hot Eight at Eight: Def Leppard’s 'Pour Some Sugar on Me'!!”

The opening chords and steady, relentless beat poured out of my amp and right into my tiny prelibidinal mind. I didn’t know what was happening, who was in charge anymore, or which way was up. All I knew was that from now on, things would be different. My second instinct, following the urge to crank the radio (which I did) was to grab the nearest instrument and try to catch this amazing, rockin’ wave.

I blew my hardest, pumping the slide of the trombone in rhythm to the drums while mimicking the lyrics' rhythm with my breath. I had never heard that song before, and as I mentioned previously, I sucked at the trombone. All that pent-up frustration, all that sixth-grade springtime energy just flew, unchecked, out of my lungs, around the golden loops of the horn and right into the living room to willingly, achingly, pour some sonic sugar onto Joe Elliott’s rockin’ creation.

My dad came into the room and turned the radio down. He looked at me with total confusion and said, “Jeffrey. I may regret saying this later, as it totally contradicts all that I stand for. But your mother and I would love it if you would stop playing the trombone tonight.”

So I'm curious, readers -- what songs do you love, and what dumb stuff did they make you do?

5 Comments:

At 3:44 AM, Blogger Lord Misanthropy said...

Umm..thanks for the comment on my blog, despite its negativity. I am wondering if you read the original post of The Female Scale on my site, because even my ultra-feminist niece does not find it as offensive as you seem to. As humans we label people every day, my scale is just very open about it. Besides, by considering EVERY aspect of women I am attempting to de-objectify them. And NO, women that I date are not privy to the blog.

 
At 12:01 PM, Blogger Nics said...

You'll probably laugh but I don't care. Bat Out of Hell by MeatLoaf. My Dad had the original Lp which is now in my posession. I used to associate it with the summer holidays because my Dad used to listen to it and I knew it word for word and danced round the living room like a child posessed. In fact, when I'm alone, I still do!

 
At 7:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Dude. Big Wud' up fro the westside. I dont' know what the Lord Misanthropy person has to say but, it doesn't make sense if your life is just about rocking. Anyways, I've been meaning to tell you that I've been enjoying all the musical nostalgia and especially the Tim/chicken band stuff, since a chicken has entered my life. Sorry for anyone who is bored by this point so back to the original reaction. Tonight I was playing my electric guitar on a busted amp and annoying my roommates and I totally thought about the mandated practice sessions. It totally makes sense to identify with a rock-n-roll awesomeness while conversing with your instrument of metal and wind, that happen to me all the time while playing an equally lame instrument the trumpet. My dad even had Herb Albert records who is this rad wierdo hip/jazz trumpet guy and that didn't make any difference. Learning an instrument as a kid equates into many significant time constraints as to learning something new. So anyways, I'm playing my guitar and I thought about how I use to play it an hour a day and how I should play now for an hour. And then I also thought about the trumpet lessons I would get as a kid and this lame electric guitar teacher would be teaching kids next to me how to thrash on the guitar and me and my dad, which was a strange bond we formed, thought if you learned how to play like this loser wouldn't the best you do is teach some teenagers powercords. So that put the seed into my head to just play around with the material realities of life and just not learn how to do anything right but just create magic. I haven’t played the trumpet seriously in 11 years I wonder what kind of shit I could blow out of it. Take care homey, I love the blog. B

 
At 7:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Dude. Big Wud' up fro the westside. I dont' know what the Lord Misanthropy person has to say but, it doesn't make sense if your life is just about rocking. Anyways, I've been meaning to tell you that I've been enjoying all the musical nostalgia and especially the Tim/chicken band stuff, since a chicken has entered my life. Sorry for anyone who is bored by this point so back to the original reaction. Tonight I was playing my electric guitar on a busted amp and annoying my roommates and I totally thought about the mandated practice sessions. It totally makes sense to identify with a rock-n-roll awesomeness while conversing with your instrument of metal and wind, that happen to me all the time while playing an equally lame instrument the trumpet. My dad even had Herb Albert records who is this rad wierdo hip/jazz trumpet guy and that didn't make any difference. Learning an instrument as a kid equates into many significant time constraints as to learning something new. So anyways, I'm playing my guitar and I thought about how I use to play it an hour a day and how I should play now for an hour. And then I also thought about the trumpet lessons I would get as a kid and this lame electric guitar teacher would be teaching kids next to me how to thrash on the guitar and me and my dad, which was a strange bond we formed, thought if you learned how to play like this loser wouldn't the best you do is teach some teenagers powercords. So that put the seed into my head to just play around with the material realities of life and just not learn how to do anything right but just create magic. I haven’t played the trumpet seriously in 11 years I wonder what kind of shit I could blow out of it. Take care homey, I love the blog. B

 
At 12:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Funny stuff.

I can still remember my friend's look of utter amazement when I picked up his cello and started playing Social Distortion on it.

 

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